Grapes

76 Narrow Street,
E14 8BP

Like the Angel, the Town of Ramsgate, the Captain Kidd and the Prospect of Whitby this pub is a grade II listed building and the listing description is as follows: “Public House. C19 facade. Stock brick, roof not visible. 4 storeys, 2 windows, sashes, vertical glazing bars only, segmental arches. Fascia board with end stops above ground floor. Small centre bay with 2 flanking doors.”

The lease of this atmospheric pub is now owned by the actor, Sir Ian McKellen. The pub is marvellously described thus by The Gentle Author in the book Spitalfields Life “Coming down Narrow St, parallel to the Thames, you arrive at a handsome eighteenth-century terrace and walk straight off the pavement into the bar of The Grapes leaving the sunshine behind, to discover that the building is just one room wide – no more than fifteen feet across. In the cool gloom you find yourself in a bare-boarded bar room full of attractively mismatched furniture and look beyond to the source of glimmering light, which is the river. Stepping through into the cosy back bar, no larger than a small parlour, you realise this is the entire extent of the ground floor. With an appealing surfeit of old brown matchboarding and lined with picture frames containing a whole archive of prints, photographs and paintings that tell the story of this venerable pub and outline its connection to the work of Dickens, this is one of the most charismatic spaces I know. Through the double doors, you find yourself upon the verandah and the full expanse of the water is quite overwhelming to behold at this bend in the river where it twists towards Greenwich, shimmering in the distance. In fact, this is the frontage of the pub because, until recently, most customers would have come directly from the river.” Note also the painting, Saturday Night at the Grapes which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the late 1940s, hung on the left-hand wall of the street-side bar.

The Grapes Featured on the Evening Crawl of Limehouse, Isle of Dogs, and Greenwich in April 2005, the Ornaments of the Orient: Daytime Crawl of Bow and Docklands in October 2009, and the Down River: Daytime Crawl of Rotherhithe, Wapping and Limehouse in June 2013.